Surfing in Chicago - on the Third Coast

Another Fish Out Of Water

All this time I thought I was the only “Kook” in my family. Then my niece, Kelly, sent me this photo of her bedroom wall (probably a bad description, since you can’t see the wall for the photos). In case you can’t make it out, her bedroom wall, which is located in north central Illinois, is plastered with SURFING photos. Seems I created a monster… let me explain.

My niece's artsy bedroom

My niece’s artsy bedroom

About a year and a half ago my sister and her fiance visited me on the Outer Banks, where I lived at the time. My niece, Kelly, came along. Naturally, we spent a lot of time at the beach, so I threw my 8′ mini-longboard into the car, figuring Kelly might want to take a crack at surfing. I haven’t used the thing for years – not since my knee got so bad that I had to have surgery on it. It’s been sitting around the garage gathering dust and taking up space and I was just glad that someone would be getting some use out of it.

I got in the water with her, gave her a few pointers, pushed her off into a few waves, then left her to her own devices. We barely saw her for the rest of the day – or the next – or the next. In an instant, she turned from cornfield girl to surfer girl.

Unfortunately, she’s now stuck in flat, boring, Illinois, miles from any water, much less surf. Recently, however, I learned about the “Third Coast” – literally surfing in Chicago on Lake Michigan, on the rare occasions when storms create a large enough swell. She won’t get much board time, but her surf wall will keep her sane between sessions. As for me, I’m just glad that I’m no longer the only “Kook” in the family. As for Kelly – well, sorry about that kiddo, but I guess, like your ‘ol Aunt Barbara, you’re gonna march to your own drummer. Love you!

2 Comments on “Another Fish Out Of Water

  1. Yes Barb, Kelly does march to her own drummer, and admires you for doing the same. As her mom I am very proud of her. Her interests are widely varied and include golf, bowling, softball, snowboarding, surfing, music of any kind, playing the trumpet, reading, writing and being funny. She has recently completed the audition process for drum major of the high school band and I hope she makes it, although it means that she would have to wear a skirt. Horrors!

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